ChetlovesMer

Do you need your tools to "match"?

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On 4/5/2013 at 1:07 PM, mikem said:

Texfire brings up a good point.  I have a Veritas DT saw, that works very well.  As I push deeper into hand tools, I am seeing the need for a cross-cut saw, and have been researching them.  Taking cost out of the equation (hard thing to do), I am leaning towards the Veritas saw, because I know it will do the job well, and it will match my DT saw.  Not just in aesthetics, but with how the saw feels and balances (in theory anyway) when I go to use it.

You'll have to take the time to organize exactly where each saw calls home, or you'll have to take the time to read the etching on each to be sure you have the right saw for the job.  My rip saw for dovetails is the only one that looks like that, My crosscut saw is from 1895 and it looks a tad different.  Never a mixup.

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1621172405_ResurrectedThread.jpg.7465ed04db6be25e8fcc05be589ab009.jpg

Always good to see an old thread provide good info, discussion and prompt more to come.

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On 3/25/2013 at 12:44 PM, ChetlovesMer said:

So, my question is are you a matching tool person? Or are you an eclectic tool person?

Any matching in my shop is coincidental. Not only am I a non-matcher, I am somewhat bothered by the concept. (Or, at least I was before reading this thread). 

 In my mind, tools are utilitarian. They are there to serve a purpose. Worrying about whether or not the match doesn't even get on the radar of things I am concerned with. Matching is what my wife does with the towels and floor mats in the bathrooms. So at least in theory, it makes no sense to me . Now, having seen a couple of guys explain why they are matchers below, I can at least begin to understand it a little but. And when it comes to battery-powered tools, it only makes sense to match so you can accumulate more batteries and swap them around as needed. 

 

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Just now, applejackson said:

Any matching in my shop is coincidental. Not only am I a non-matcher, I am somewhat bothered by the concept. (Or, at least I was before reading this thread). 

 In my mind, tools are utilitarian. They are there to serve a purpose. Worrying about whether or not the match doesn't even get on the radar of things I am concerned with. Matching is what my wife does with the towels and floor mats in the bathrooms. So at least in theory, it makes no sense to me . Now, having seen a couple of guys explain why they are matchers below, I can at least begin to understand it a little but. And when it comes to battery-powered tools, it only makes sense to match so you can accumulate more batteries and swap them around as needed. 

 

This makes sense to me, though one could counter that this forum is generally occupied more with a fine woodworker's perspective than that of a carpenter. The work we do is generally done as a hobby/passion and aesthetics play a major role. We make pieces to meet utilitarian needs, but if that were all we needed, of course we'd just buy something, like everyone else. Obviously there is more to it. We want beauty in our work and I think that can carry over into the work space. Its the same reason so many members here have put the time in to make beautiful Roubu style split top work benches with beautiful dovetail joinery. I'm sure those benches are very functional, but they are way more than that.  

All that being said, I personally have a mix of tools. As I'm gradually moving up the scale, I've acquired a few LN (Shoulder plane and #4) and LV planes (Router Plane), and I've got an LV dovetail saw, so right now I'm evenly split between them. My power tools are a complete mix, but, with the exception of my sawstop job-site saw, none are premium products anyways. No Festool green for me, yet.

In the long run I hope to move into a larger space, with room and available power to operate better machines. Then I will consider if matching really matters to me, as I gradually upgrade my tools. 

I thought @RichardA made a really great point above about the challenges of having similar looking saws. I never thought about that, before now I certainly will.

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2 minutes ago, Chestnut said:

I generally match my tools. Almost all of the tools in my shop are woodworking tools. I keep the car tools in the garage and the garden tools in the shed. It's nice to have all the matching tools together in the place they get used so i don't have to go searching for them ... :ph34r:

Sure, that is a separate issue though. No one wants clutter in their shop, if it can be avoided. 

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@Isaac you lost me. Not sure where i implied that I, or most of the ppl in this forum, are more into carpentry then hobbiest/craft furniture making. 

Of course aesthetics play a role, but all I was saying is that in my shop, aesthetics have nothing to do with ensuring that all of the tools come from the same company. But to each their own. There's nothing wrong with it - it is just not something that I am concerned about at all. 

Take care, sir. 

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39 minutes ago, Isaac said:

Sure, that is a separate issue though. No one wants clutter in their shop, if it can be avoided. 

It was a joke on what constitutes matching.

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14 minutes ago, applejackson said:

@Isaac you lost me. Not sure where i implied that I, or most of the ppl in this forum, are more into carpentry then hobbiest/craft furniture making. 

Of course aesthetics play a role, but all I was saying is that in my shop, aesthetics have nothing to do with ensuring that all of the tools come from the same company. But to each their own. There's nothing wrong with it - it is just not something that I am concerned about at all. 

Take care, sir. 

No worries. I was just commenting on your point about the tools being utilitarian. I think many view them as somewhere in between. Of course they have to be functional, but people make benches, jigs, shop furniture etc, that also have aesthetic qualities to them, and the tools are part of that. Just adding to the conversation, not trying to convince you of anything.

Like I said, I don't even have my tools matching. 

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Hmm @Isaac so being a carpenter excludes you from being a fine woodworker because our tools don't match? Or you can't be a fine woodworker because your not anal enough to have all your tools match? Fine woodworking seems like a pretty exclusive club with this kind of logic, I don't care what a tool looks like or how old or, new it is, I don't care whether my tools match it's all about whether the get the job done I guess I'm just a carpenter and have proudly been one since 1974! 

 

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@Isaac I appreciate your point of view and wasn't trying to snap at you. I just didnt get the carpenter reference I hope you didnt take it that way. Take care, my friend. 

 

 

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24 minutes ago, higtron said:

Hmm @Isaac so being a carpenter excludes you from being a fine woodworker because our tools don't match? Or you can't be a fine woodworker because your not anal enough to have all your tools match? Fine woodworking seems like a pretty exclusive club with this kind of logic, I don't care what a tool looks like or how old or, new it is, I don't care whether my tools match it's all about whether the get the job done I guess I'm just a carpenter and have proudly been one since 1974! 

 

I think his point was that hobbyists/amateurs tend to have more pride in their tools and value them differently than how a contractor/pro does. A contractor/pro sees the tool as a tool to get the job done where some hobbyists see the tool as, well something slightly more than just a tool to get the job done.

I think the carpenter, contractor, fine woodworker are labels that mean little to nothing. A better distinction would be working professional and amateur? As there are professional of all of these categories.

The pro vs amateur says nothing about skill or quality of work it's more of do they do this work as a living or as a hobby. It's not unheard of that an amateur has more skill than a professional. Some times they could be a "pro" but don't want to do the job for a living ect.

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23 minutes ago, higtron said:

Hmm @Isaac so being a carpenter excludes you from being a fine woodworker because our tools don't match? Or you can't be a fine woodworker because your not anal enough to have all your tools match? Fine woodworking seems like a pretty exclusive club with this kind of logic, I don't care what a tool looks like or how old or, new it is, I don't care whether my tools match it's all about whether the get the job done I guess I'm just a carpenter and have proudly been one since 1974! 

 

I gather I should have said framing carpenter. Good framing carpentry is highly skilled and hard work, where you have to produce plumb, strong and properly constructed walls and framing in a timely and cost effective manor. You generally don't use hardwoods, mortise and tenons and dovetails, etc. to do it. That does not mean it is a lesser or easy task. It is however, more utility driven than aesthetics driven. Compare that to hobbyist furniture making where aesthetics come front and center. A finish carpenter would fall somewhere in between on this scale. Again, I'm not disparaging anyone's trade or hobby here. 

So, to me, personally, it makes sense that people who make furniture would be more likely to care about the aesthetics of their tools and shop furniture, and perhaps go so far as matching things. Of course exceptions will exist in both directions, and no one should feel compelled to do something as arbitrary as matching their tools just to meet some standard they don't personally care about. I'm simply adding to the conversation that is the subject of this topic. 

13 minutes ago, applejackson said:

@Isaac I appreciate your point of view and wasn't trying to snap at you. I just didnt get the carpenter reference I hope you didnt take it that way. Take care, my friend. 

Thank you, I hope the above helped clarify what I was getting at. 

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This disagreement is nuts.  Matching or not... A tool is a tool. Nothing more and nothing less. If by preference you prefer your tools to match, that's up to you, if not, that to is up to you. Saying a carpenter has less respect for his tools than does a person that makes furniture, is saying that the carpenter just doesn't give a s**t as long as the tool does what it's supposed to do.   Most carpenters and I was one a long time ago, took care of our tools, but carpenters are up against a time line, whereas a perfectionist hobbyist furniture producer is rarely up against a time line.  So it might appear that a carpenter has less concern for his tools, but it's just not true or proven.

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Even when I was little, I never destroyed my toys.  I'm still using tools I bought in 1974, including some power tools, both large, and small, as well as hand tools.

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I'd love to keep the conversation going guys, but it feels it is taking a personal and negative turn that really wasn't intended at all.

I'm an engineer in my profession. If it will settle things, feel free to vent some (good natured) anti engineer opinions now. :)

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My point is what tools you have has nothing to do with whether your a fine woodworker or not some are better than other tools a harbor freight chisel if sharpened properly is better than a dull LN chisel to get the job done, when I was first starting out as a carpenter newly married kid on the way my wife wanting nice sturdy furniture and us being on a tight budget I needed a table saw, chop-saw(miter-saw) all I had was my carpentry tools I buried my skillsaw into some some 3/4" plywood held it in place with some plywood clips tie wired the switch on flipped it over used a straight 2x4 for a fence the on off switch was to plug and unplug it. I built coffee a table, book cases, end tables, dinning table, bedroom set, bunk beds and what ever was on the honey-do list in the back yard with no shop. It was as fine woodworking I could do with the tool set that I had at that time. Would I have used a table saw if I had one, yes the make shift table saw was crazy but effective my woodworking skills were limited I just looked at a piece of furniture and made it with what I had. Fast forward to today I have a 36x36 dedicated woodworking shop I have Unisaw 52" on the right side of the blade it's a great saw and I make some nice things with it a lot faster than I did with the makeshift one the things I build now are more refined only because I've thrown a lot more money at my tools but, I bet most of what I built back than is still around somewhere because it was solid as a rock and not too hard to look at. Tools are a means to an end what you want and what you can justify spending are a consideration of economics not the craftsmanship of the woodworker, we all want the best of everything but, that's not really feasible so we get what we can afford if it gets you where you want to be who cares whether things match out in the shop as long as the you're producing projects that your proud of. 

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The only matching I worry about is the bright shiny sharp edge on my tools. There is where I want them to match!

"...anti-engineer jokes...."

Hey, wait! I resemble that category too!

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The spirit of this has been blown past. I think carpenter meant site worker. I never saw Vesper on the job. I never saw Blue Spruce. Tom King, you have way more control over your job sites than anyone I know. When you start adding multiple trades on top of each other, priorities will change. It may not be you that abuses a tool. It may be splashing PVC cement. This leads to a different decision making process. 

That said, I am not sure what that has to do with matching tools. Some trades are all about aesthetics. As a siding contractor, (on school breaks these days) I am somewhere between rougher and fine finisher depending on the day. I might look for matching tools that are ergonomic hand tools.  I might get matching tools if sponsored by a dealer or given a kickback of some type. Beyond that, matching becomes a budget luxury that I cannot afford. Matching might also indicate some OCD. So what? Should that matter? That just might make someone a fine craftsman. To each his own. 

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9 hours ago, Isaac said:

Sure, that is a separate issue though. No one wants clutter in their shop, if it can be avoided. 

Yet we all have a surface or 7 that nothing else can fit on.  

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